Report on the Bull Selection Day

The Traprock Group Bull Selection Day was held at Spring Creek on Friday 16th June 2017. Fifteen people braved the near freezing conditions to listen and learn from a very capable and passionate Tim Emery. Tim is currently seconded to Tropical Beef Technology Services (TBTS), a joint initiative of Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), Agriculture Business Research Institute (ABRI) and Breed Societies. Tim’s role is to assist producers to improve the genetics of their operation through better informed bull selection. There is no doubt that he has a thorough knowledge of the subject matter and is a more than capable presenter. 

The key points of the morning sessions were, identifying our individual breeding objectives and using Bull Breeding Soundness Examination (BBSE) and understanding estimated breeding values (EBV). Understanding BBSE is very useful in assessing the visible structural properties of a bull and knowing what traits are important to have, and just as importantly, what to avoid. 

A delicious BBQ lunch was prepared by Janie Carson and all participants took the opportunity to enjoy lunch in the sunshine. 

The afternoon had warmed up (blankets no longer required) by the time we commenced the final session. This session covered the use of the BreedPlan website via the internet, to select bulls that suit each producer’s requirements. All participants learned how to create a short list of bulls from the large number available from stud catalogues on the internet, to the few bulls that meet the specific requirements of their herd improvement objectives. 

Participants also briefly discussed the current hot topic of Johnes Disease Biodiversity Plan. There was also sharing of information from those who had recently been audited by the Livestock Producers’ Association (LPA). It seemed likely from this discussion that some of us are not keeping enough information about our herd management to satisfy an LPA audit and to this end, improvements will be made. 

Over a few refreshments at the end of the day all participants agreed that they now felt much better equipped to select appropriate bulls to improve their operation. Networking and sharing of other related information was also very valuable. 

Many thanks to Graham Flood for organising what proved to be a successful and informative day.